What are the characteristics of Victorian poetry?

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missflusk14 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Victorian Poetry- while coming on the heels of the Romantic Era- is characterized by much different subject matter and tone than that of the Romantics. Where the Romantic poets are famous for their emotional attentiveness to the glory of nature and God's creation, Victorians are far more in touch with human struggle and skepticism. For instance, one would be likely to find a Victorian writer depicting the struggle between science and religion. Victorians also used their language to create imagery that would engage all of the senses; describing smell, taste, touch, and sound, in addition to visual images. Additionally, Victorian poets were preoccupied with a sense of sentimentality. The Victorian Era is characterized by scientific progress, industrialization, and the true beginning of our modern age. That being so, Victorian writers felt keenly the way in which the world around them was breaking away from the old ways of the world- the world that the Romantics knew and loved and wrote about. 

For examples of Victorian poetry, you may want to look at some works by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Alfred Tennyson, George Bernard Shaw, and Oscar Wilde.